Trip Report: Sailor Moon Crystal Ep. 1 & 2

sailor moon
Just something I found online…

Obviously, I’ve heard of Sailor Moon, but I’ve never seen a single second of it. Not a single one. My girlfriend likes the original series, and even thought about watching this latest reboot, but I guess she thought better of it. I think I should’ve followed suit. But still, curiosity got the better of me. Again, I’ve never seen Sailor Moon before, so why not give it a look or two? Unfortunately, I’ve heard nothing but bad things about the reboot. I don’t know if it’s because fans are just impossible to please or what, but I rarely ever see anything positive being said about the 2014 series. But hey, maybe they’re right. I won’t know until I take a look at the show myself. Anyway, I’m going to treat this show like everything else I watch. For me, it’s not about whether or not the show lives up to its predecessors. Instead, I just to know if it’s even a good show to begin. Let’s just see how far I can get before I throw in the towel…

Episode one!

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— Stars and planets, oh boy! Some lady floats down to kiss a guy, but of course, the anime cuts away from the kiss. It feels like the objective here is to find a cute guy and kiss him. I mean, that’s the first impression I get. Whether or not this is the ultimate goal of the show, I don’t know, but what else am I supposed to think when I see an opening like that?

— Oh dear, Usagi’s voice is shrill. And why does her mom look so goddamn young. She may as well be her big sister.

— The OP’s not ear-piercingly horrible. I’m not paying any attention to the lyrics, though. ‘Cause who cares?

— I’ve never seen a second of Sailor Moon before. I know nothing about Sailor Moon either. So damn, she’s only 14. I mean, I guess I’m not surprised, but I don’t know… I always figured she was older for some reason. Like she’d be this awesome big sister that everyone would look up to.

— Yeesh, I detest crybabies. And klutzes.

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— At least the cat’s cute.

— Listening to her voice a little bit more carefully now, I guess the number one thing that bugs me is that she doesn’t sound remotely like a 14-year-old girl. She sounds like a grown woman pretending to be a girl.

— This chatter is pretty boring, but hey, I’m not the intended audience for this shit, so take what I write here with a grain of salt.

— It’s just hard to examine this in-depth because it’s failing to engage my attention. I don’t really give a toss about anything that is happening onscreen.

— This dude looks like he’s the main love interest, but how old is he supposed to be? He looks hella fucking old. Why are you trying to get with 14-year-olds, dude? Fuckin’ nasty.

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— “Who wears a tuxedo in the afternoon?” I know, right? Wouldn’t call him a show-off, though. More like those guys in the West who feel the need to tip their fedoras at girls. Plus, the show can’t even get his reflection in the window right.

— I don’t know what to think of a heroine voicing her desire to drop out of school, though.

— I see Usagi only has her eyes on guys who are way too old for her.

— The mom naturally kicks Usagi out of the house for scoring a pathetic thirty on her latest test. I mean, really, a thirty means you pretty much aren’t even trying, unless, of course, you have an actual learning disability, but I doubt that’s the case…

— So far, I’m not seeing a single admirable trait about the main character. She’s a self-confessed crybaby, she’s clumsy, she’s whiny, she does poorly in school, so on and so forth.

— So does Usagi have a dad or what? Eh, he’s probably an absentee salaryman, so I’m not sure why I even bothered asking.

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— Holy shit, that arm.

— Damn, the cat is pretty sassy.

— If I was dreaming of a talking cat, I’d try my best to talk to it.

— Oh, the girl snaps to attention when Luna mentions a present. Yeesh. I don’t know… doesn’t she seem kinda… vapid? And don’t even start with the whole “She’s just 14!” argument, ’cause her friends don’t seem so bad. I don’t give a shit if the show’s deep or not. I really don’t. Simple or otherwise, Sailor Moon just doesn’t seem like any person I’d want to be.

— I guess I’m sort of looking at this from the perspective of a potential parent. Sort of. I’m not a parent (yet), and to be honest, it’s not like I’d even have a problem letting my kids watch almost whatever they want. If it entertains them, then it entertains them… as long as they know what they’re getting into. Hell, I got to watch whatever I wanted as a kid, so I think it’s more important for parents to explain to kids why something is wrong rather than just barring them completely from a movie or TV show the parents don’t like. I watched a ton of violent movies when I was young, but I’ve never felt the compulsion to ride a motorcycle and shoot a shotgun. So likewise, it’s not like I’d bar my kids from watching Sailor Moon if Sailor Moon appeals to them. At the same time, however, I feel as though I would have to explain to them that, well, Sailor Moon is kind of incompetent at the moment.

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And that even though she’s a heroine, I’m not sure she’s a heroine I’d want my kids to emulate. Maybe she improves over the course of the series, but first impressions are strong impressions, and she’s not leaving a very good one. If anyone thinks I’m being unfair or whatever, hey, Goku was an idiot too. When I watched DBZ as a kid, I only watched it ’cause it was entertaining. I sure as hell knew I didn’t want to be anything like Goku, though.

— And yeah, I know a woman created Sailor Moon. So what, though? Who cares? Maybe the source material is miles better than what we see here, but like I’ve said a billion times before, I’m just focusing on the anime adaptation in front of me.

— Oh, here’s the mahou shoujo transformation scene. Yeah, the CGI doesn’t seem to mesh all too well with the 2-D aesthetics, but by itself, it’s not so bad.

— Until her skirt comes in, Usagi looks like she’s wearing a diaper, though.

— Oh, her ear buns act as beacons or something. Makes her look kind of like a frog.

— Why is “Evil” capitalized? Is the bad woman literally named Evil?

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— So Sailor Moon wins by crying… I just… I don’t know, man. The fact that she’s not ready to fight, I get that. Obviously, I don’t expect a 14-year-old girl to instantly kick zombie ass. But it feels like she’s constantly being rewarded for fucking up. Bad grades? Eh, it’s okay. She still gets to be a heroine. Too unskilled to fight? Fine. That’s understandable. But her crying disables the zombies. Throwing a tantrum is literally what saves the day. I don’t mind if anime characters start off weak or if they screw up. We’re only human at the end of the day. At the same time, however, I don’t expect them to be rewarded for screwing up.

— Then the hot bishie dude shows up and tells her to stop crying.

— It’s not quite Romero, but I guess the big, fancy lesson in the first week is that unchecked consumerism turns you into a mindless zombie. Watch out for those discounted jewelry sales!

— Alright… so that was the first episode. I guess I’ll try another one.

Episode two!

— Well, the blue-haired girl seems smart. Why isn’t she the star?

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— Damn, dude, if you want the “Legendary Silver Crystal” so bad, why don’t you go and get it yourself? But that’s how these shows are. The big, bad baddie keeps sending his minions to fail, and wonder why he can’t seem to achieve his goals…

— Meanwhile, Usagi continues to do poorly… At least she’s friendly, I guess.

— Hell, Mizuno’s even good at games, so she wins a pen for her troubles. Meanwhile, Usagi shakes the machine violently until she gets a reward too. I mean, am I just going crazy here or what? Usagi sucks, man.

— “Well, Ami-chan, you look prettier when you smile.” What if she just has bitchy resting face?

— So it appears the villain of the week is another woman. Does this Jadeite guy just have an army of evil women at his fingertips to do his bidding or something?

— So what’s the danger this week? Studying too much allows bad people to take advantage of you? Well, we know Usagi won’t have to worry about that.

— Luna even has to tell Usagi not to litter. Man…

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— So to sneak into the Crystal Seminar, Usagi disguises herself as a doctor… but it’s a sexy doctor. C’mon, what’s with the short skirt?

— These booths look really tiny.

— Hm, in the end, Sailor Moon needed Tuxedo Mask to save her. Then all she ever seems to do in these episodes is cry and throw a tiara at the villain. Not very inspiring.

— My coverage for the second episode is a lot shorter, because, well, I just don’t think there’s much to say about it. Somehow, I feel kind of disappointed even though I didn’t come into this viewing experience with very many expectations.

— In fact, the entire thing isn’t very inspiring. To repeat, I’m not looking for a deep show nor am I even looking for the perfect heroine. Usagi just isn’t likeable. She’s… nice, I guess. But that’s about it. Nothing else about her is even admirable. Needless to say, I don’t want to continue watching this series.

Further reading:

Here’s someone who knows far more about Sailor Moon than me.

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30 thoughts on “Trip Report: Sailor Moon Crystal Ep. 1 & 2”

  1. I haven’t watched the original series. I’ve watched a few episodes of this remake and while I can get over Usagi being what she is (after all, it seems to me late 80s / early 90s anime series were big on Idiot Heroes. Just look at Goku. My impression is that they would leave the MC as a purposefully bland character that anyone can moderately sympathize with and then leave the quirks and specific traits to the side characters for viewer identification – so Sailor Mercury is the smart, nerdy girl, Sailor Mars is spiritual and combative, and so on), what I can’t get over is how awful it looks. They really, REALLY spared their money on this. Ironically, I’ve seen DB Kai episodes looking better than this, and that’s 20 year old stuff with a saturation filter slapped on! The animation will be a source of DERP QUALITY to behold for the years to come. Which makes one question the very purpose of this remake. Then there’s of course the fact that this starts as an episodic and rather formulaic show, but I ascribe that to its genre – it IS the archetypical Mahou Shojo after all, can’t expect much more than that.

    1. after all, it seems to me late 80s / early 90s anime series were big on Idiot Heroes.

      Well, it isn’t the 80s or early 90s anymore. I think it’s lazy when a reboot doesn’t bother to update the characters. And I think it’s silly that intelligence is considered quirky or specific. Meanwhile, I’m supposed to sympathize with an idiot?

      The animation quality didn’t bother me at all, strangely enough.

      1. I think the general idea is to avoid the main character making the viewer feel inadequate/inferior. I don’t know about updating, but really, what you suggest is almost completely rewriting. Long story short, I am okay with them sticking with it – doesn’t mean I would necessarily like the character or the series, but it’s a remake and it’s mainly meant for old time fans who wanted their faithful-to-the-manga anime. I wouldn’t have liked it if Jojo’s BA or HXH had been ‘updated’ for their respective remakes either, so I won’t complain. But the sheer laziness going into making this turd is unforgivable.

        1. I think the general idea is to avoid the main character making the viewer feel inadequate/inferior.

          If an average character makes them feel inferior, then they have bigger problems than a goddamn anime.

          but really, what you suggest is almost completely rewriting.

          No, it’s not. This is hilarious. Updating a character’s persona to avoid antediluvian standards is not “completely rewriting” a show. That’s the most insecure thing I’ve ever heard. Everything else about the characters are the still the same. The scenarios are still the same. The plot is still the same. It’s not a rewrite whatsoever.

          but it’s a remake

          Everywhere I look, people call it a reboot, not a remake.

          and it’s mainly meant for old time fans who wanted their faithful-to-the-manga anime.

          And that’s why we’re in this mess. Anime’s need to constantly appease the old guard is why it will never become anything more than a niche interest.

          I wouldn’t have liked it if Jojo’s BA or HXH

          I would. Maybe I’d actually watch those shows.

        2. HXH is almost unanimously considered a masterpiece as it is. Madhouse’s creative team worked a lot on the visuals, the voice acting, the music, the direction, everything that makes an anime different from a manga – but they didn’t touch the writing because hey, if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.
          I’d say the problem is that more often than not, TV writers aren’t that good – or maybe the good ones aren’t willing to work in the shadow of an already famous mangaka/author, your pick. Turns out that in practice, almost all interference results in bad outcomes. I’m not saying you CAN’T change things – Yamato 2199 is an example which did it to awesome effect. I’m just saying it rarely ends well. Could it have done so with SM Crystal? Sure. Could they have updated the anime to make it closer to modern sensibility? Possibly, but then why not making an entirely new anime anyway? Let’s say the target was “make a faithful but modern reboot of Sailor Moon as a manga adaptation”. That’s not bad per se – it may not appeal to everyone’s taste, but that doesn’t mean it is inherently wrong. What’s wrong is that they did manage to fuck THAT up too – ending up with a product that doesn’t appeal to either old time fans OR new ones. That’s what makes it so bad.

        3. Turns out that in practice, almost all interference results in bad outcomes.

          More often than not, fans fear change and bitch up and down if anything is different. So hey, sometimes writers fuck up, and sometimes, writers are just too gunshy to change anything. Furthermore, fans will only remember the big disasters. So forgive me if I don’t believe that “almost all interference results in bad outcomes.”

          Could they have updated the anime to make it closer to modern sensibility? Possibly, but then why not making an entirely new anime anyway?

          Why does it have to be all or nothing? All I’m saying is that the character is a complete and utter idiot, and it wouldn’t have taken much to make her a person of average intelligence. I don’t know why that is such an outrageous thing to say.

          but that doesn’t mean it is inherently wrong.

          Who even said anything about inherently wrong? Christ, can I not give my opinion without people thinking I’m trying to assert an objective truth?

  2. I know nothing about Sailor Moon either. So damn, she’s only 14. I mean, I guess I’m not surprised, but I don’t know… I always figured she was older for some reason. Like she’d be this awesome big sister that everyone would look up to.

    Yeah, Usagi is a middle school student which more or less fits in with the audience at the time. She is probably one of the more naive/immature characters of the case IIRC despite being the leader of SM.

    This dude looks like he’s the main love interest, but how old is he supposed to be?

    IIRC Darien is a college student (18-19) and we still don’t know why he is interested in Usagi in the first place ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    I think it had to do with something like being fate or destiny? Somehow this didn’t sound creepy when I was a elementary school student but now it’s just…odd. It’s not like they actually date but a unrequited crush for most of what I remember.

    So does Usagi have a dad or what?

    He’s the classical absentee father character. It could be worse knowing anime families and all.

    And that even though she’s a heroine, I’m not sure she’s a heroine I’d want my kids to emulate.

    I actually don’t remember much about SM when I watched but the entire storyline is supposed to focus on the value of female friendship over love. Yeah, Usagi is a idiot and fails often for no reason but it also represented a girl is flawed but never gives up (?).

    Instead of following a typical shounen lead fighting impossible odds as a lone wolf the series is based around a group of girls who support and save other girls. I’m also a fan of superhero stories but it’s rare to see a all girls team back then.

    TM doesn’t do anything memorable but he’s kinda like a mascot? He inspires hope for SM orz

    1. a girl is flawed but never gives up (?).

      This would be fine if this was what I actually saw in the first two episodes. Instead, she doesn’t really try at anything and she’s nearly all flaws, but despite this, she succeeds. Like, I know that lately people have been bitching about Ken in Tokyo Ghoul, because he’s unlikeable and weak, but at least when he screws up, there are consequences. Sailor Moon screws up in the first two episodes and gets rewarded. I didn’t see any determination. She cries, then she wins.

      1. Eh, I don’t exactly have horse in this race account of I never finished the original or started the reboot orz.

        I got the idea from one of a threads earlier before the actual SM started and how it influenced young girls.

  3. I actually watched the original (hey, it’s one of the more popular ones back in the nineties), and I must say, casting Kotono Mitsuishi again as Usagi (which she also played in the original series) was really a bad idea. She just doesn’t sound like the way she used to back then and just comes off as a 50-year old woman trying to sound like a teenage girl. It’s just annoying and it was obviously done purely for the nostalgia of it. They should have really just cast a younger actress.

    On the whole, meh. I agree with you that they should have really updated the characters’ personas. Sure, they were aiming to make it closer to the manga. But hey, that was written in the nineties, We have different sensibilities now. Again, I guess it’s because this series was merely made for nostalgia purposes (Naoko Takeuchi even said that this was intended more for the fans of the original).

    One the plus side, Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury still looks hot in this version (yay for more skin on the shoulders).

    1. (Naoko Takeuchi even said that this was intended more for the fans of the original).

      A pity. Could’ve reached out to new fans. It’s not like fans of the originals don’t already have, y’know, the originals.

      1. “A pity. Could’ve reached out to new fans. It’s not like fans of the originals don’t already have, y’know, the originals.”

        Fans of the original were clamoring for a much closer adaptation to the source manga. The first series diverged greatly from the source (and it was a bit of a filler hell. It took them at least ten episodes before they actually introduced Ami). But yeah, they could have tweaked it a bit to appeal to newer fans.

  4. Japanese teens love older men, E Minor.
    The one I read recently, the protagonist slept with her mom’s ex lover.
    He’s the same as as her mom.
    Weell, as long as he’s hot…

    1. Well, 15 year old girls often do like older boys – that’s hardly an exclusively Japanese fact. It’s when the older boys answer in kind that things go straight down Creepy Lane (and anyway I won’t really argue that a 18 y.o. who dates a 15 y.o. is a pedo… he’s taking advantage of a younger girl, sure, and that’s despicable, but he’s not driven by some abnormal sexual desire or something).

    2. Japanese teens love older men, E Minor.

      I didn’t say otherwise. It’s when grown-ass adults writing this shit completely allow teenagers to indulge that fantasy that there’s a problem.

  5. did you know that they actually gotten the original VA for sailor moon to voice usagi again?

    I would have prefer if they had gotten a younger VA for her, for now, her voice is too shrilly for me to actually enjoy it. so as for now, i am just fast-forwarding through the show.

  6. Actually the love interest is in high school, he’s like 1-2 year older than Usagi. Not really believable I know, he doesn’t act like a highschool kid either.
    Usagi’s dad has quite a few screen-time, not as much as the mom but he’s there. I think you first meet him in ep4 of crystal.

    As for Usagi being a flawed character, I think that was the point of the original series. That she started out as a coward and selfish brat then grow up into the person everyone can depend on.
    Her crying power didn’t work on monster on ep 2, it was Mercury and Tuxedo who saved her ass so I don’t get how that count as getting reward for screwing up. It’s a pretty common theme at the beginning iirc, she keep getting saved by her allies until she’s grown strong enough to actually be useful in dire situation without sticking to the finising move. She’s saved in ep 3 by the new girl too.

    While I like reading your posts on crystal, with its lazy excution you’ll probably find it too boring to stick with it. And if crystal stays closely to manga, Usagi will slowly become Sue-ish and her miracle romance of destiny with Tuxedo dude take center while her friends fade to background, not sure if you’d like that.

    1. As for Usagi being a flawed character, I think that was the point of the original series.

      Well, too unlikeable from the get-go for me.

      it was Mercury and Tuxedo who saved her ass so I don’t get how that count as getting reward for screwing up.

      Her screwing up has no consequences.

  7. Fuck it Minor, I only managed to watch about a half of ep1, can’t stand this shit. btw also never watched Sailor Moon before.

  8. While you bring up Goku I have no clue why he is a hero. No unlike superman who has negative traits to humanize him like a black and white sense of justice and just to much power that it alienates him. Gokus humanizing traits are horrible. In series he is literally a horrible dad and this is pointed out in the series a few times. He is a idiot who can not fit in with society. Finally his love for battle has literally put the earth and his friends in jeopardy. Why would you put some one like that in a show for kids. During the whole Buu saga I was wondering if the writers notice tons of people are dieing and being put through torture because Goku just didn’t kill Buu. Everytime some one died or got curb stomped I was just thinking man Goku could have prevented all this.

  9. It’s funny to see someone review Sailor Moon in a more objective way, it reminds me how chessy the show really is. But hey, I love all this girlish chessy stuff since I was 6 years old with all my heart.

    I really don’t know how to call Sailor Moon Crystal, reboot or remake. The plot is the same of the original anime, but SMC will be very, very different from the anime of 90’s because the intention is to follow the manga in the most faithful way. Anyone who read the manga and saw the anime from the 90’s knows that they are so different that it’s almost like they they told us 2 different stories. One big difference is that the anime from 90’s use the formula Monster of the Week and the manga everything is very direct, it doesn’t have all those crazy minions that we learned to love. One example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJlbalCUY6M

    I really think that the characters or the story don’t need major changes, same thing with Hunter x Hunter or Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures. Beat up androgyny villains in a mini-skirt is something that never gets old. The staff of the anime have to be competent enough to show us something that is not literary the manga in a TV screen (Hey Bakuman, I’m talking to you), something that benefits from the unique anime elements, but for me a big update is not really necessary to make the anime more attractive for the new generations, I’m condifident that SMC will make a new fandom with the original story of the manga. And it’s not like they didn’t have changed anything. We have CD room instead of floppy disks!!! And we have a important aspect to notice: the people that will spent the largest amount of money in Sailor Moon merchandising it’s the adult fans, people who read the manga/saw the original anime. Change too much risking to make something that these people possibly wouldn’t like is not a very wise decision.

    To finish this bible that my commentary has become I have to admit that I’m very disappointed with the quality of the animation. They delayed the anime for 1 fucking year, Sailor Moon is a very famous and lucrative franchise, the anime probably had a huge budget, they sold thousands of toys, so why in the end they give us…. this??????? http://www.nerd-age.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Sailor-Moon-Crystal-episode-3-Rei.png I almost feel offended. I’m really anxious to see how the staff will fix this in the Blu-Ray.

    1. Every argument I’m hearing is the same: if you change too much, it’ll piss the longtime fans off. But I’m not sure people are even addressing what I’m trying to say. You guys seem to be fixated on the idea that I want to tear the show down and replace it with something completely different. I’m not asking for any big changes. I only complained about one thing over and over and it was Usagi’s intelligence. I just wonder why Usagi has to be so stupid and vapid. A 30 on a test, man. A 30. A D is bad enough, but a 30 is just not even trying. But apparently, just bumping the girl’s competence up a touch is the same as rewriting the show completely! I didn’t call for Usagi’s personality to be changed wholesale. I just don’t see the value of making a heroine this goddamn dumb. If making it so that she scores a 60 instead pisses longtime fans off, I don’t know what to say.

      1. If it makes you more happy Usagi scores 52 in Japanese…

        In a interview Naoko Takeuchi stated that Usagi is a reflex of herself in her youth, maybe she just sucked very much in English… I know that seems pretty stupid that Usagi is so academic incompetent , but making Usagi dumb is a form to contrast with her future self The Neo Queen Serenity/Eternal Sailor Moon, who is described as wise, mature and a good leader and to be obnoxious her evolution. But if makes you less pissed of by the stupidly of Usagi she gets much more intelligent by the end of the season and along the manga , not necessarily meaning a big improvement in her notes. But hey!, if she managed to get in to a Japanese High School she cannot be so incompetent.

        Ps: I don’t think by just improving Usagi’s grades she would appear less stupid. Aaaarhgh, that voice…

  10. Nice to see an “objective” point of view for this series! I’m too biased by my own childhood and by the love that I feel for this series to see the actual premise with both eyes.

    Sorry if I get too carried away and go past beyond your post…

    I feel that Sailor Moon is the story of the transformation of a girl from a good-for-nothing to a overpowered queen of the universe. Usagi, at first, is highly annoying, mediocre, a total klutz, irresponsible crybaby. She is flawed, so flawed that is comical, a caricature of a character. I also think that Usagi is not a likeable character from the start of the series. I mean, she does nothing but mess up things and she does not learn from her mistakes… she has to be constantly saved by her friends, she cries way too much… But she gradually changes, mostly because she learn her own limits and she suffers from that.

    But I really like Usagi! She’s very real. She’s totally honest with herself and with others. She gets tired and hurt by being useless for Tuxedo Kamen and her friends. I didn’t like Usagi at all when I was a little girl. I thought that she was merely an hindrance for her allies, and I hated her attitude. Maybe because I was just like her at that time, I don’t know :P She speaks for little selfish, crybabys, that are suddenly asked to grow up. Of course, her friends make things easier from her ;) and most of the time she doesn’t get scolded from acting like a spoiled brat.

    I’m really anxious to see how the story unfolds in this new anime. I really hope that someday they adapt all the manga. I also hope that they improve the awful animation.

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